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Cleaning of clogged drip lines


A couple of us farmers were recently approached by a rep selling a new product called Drip-A-Tron manufactured by Maz-zee. He claimes that it breaks up all mineral and organic deposits in drip irrigation systems. It is a liquid which has to be mixed with water and then put in the system and be left for a min of 24 hours before flushed.

He showed some before/after photos of cut open drippers that looked quite impressive. I was wondering if there are any subscribers here that has heard of this or similar products or possible even uses/used it, that can give me some advice whether it is worthwile and safe to use.

Albie Cilliers


Drip-A-Tron has been used for a number of years in California. It is an acid and I believe it to be safe. I haven't seen farmers use it on lines that were already plugged but on a drip tape maintenance program, it seems to do a good job. If there is already a lot of algae, etc growing in the pipeline you can plug your tape/emitters up worse when it begins to break off and get carried downstream. Therefore it is very important to flush the lines extensively before irrigating again.

Linda Day


In your response to Mr.. Colliers you mentioned an acid being used in the drip lines. Which acid was it and at what strength. It would probably be cheaper and more locally available if a person were to by the raw acid and mix it themselves if they can be handle it correctly and feel comfortable with it. I would also be curious if there were any other products in the commercial solution he spoke of.

To the rest of the list, has anyone tried putting a solution such as this specifically through a Netafim drip system in a Greenhouse. I would be very interested in this we have 30 acres of this system.

Doug Abele


We use nitric acid through our drip lines when we clean them at the end of the season on a tomato nursery. But we found that if we flush them out every 3-4 weeks their was no build up at all From your letter it's not clear what the chemical being used is. The Drip-A-Tron sounds like it's a type of injector used, not the chemical. Massei makes a range of chemical injectors.

Denis Sparrow


I fully support Scott Garnett's concept of avoiding precipitate build-up rather than drastically eliminating it at the end of the season. It is a common habit in Israel (with very hard water) to apply phosphoric acid several times during season. This is a more comfortable material than nitric acid, while both use also as fertilizers. Mono-Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) can be used too for both functions, because a 0.1% (w/w) solution has a pH value of 4.7, and 1% solution 4.4.

Oded Achilea


Doug Abele asks, "Has anyone tried putting a solution such as this (Dose-A-Tron) specifically through a Netafim drip system in a Greenhouse?" I used this product through my Netafim lines and button emitters for a calcium carbonate problem many years ago. No harm to the drip equipment was experienced. Dose-A-Tron, as I recall, is a much less caustic formulation of phosphoric acid. It is therefore easier to work with; normally, acids can splash and make swiss cheese out of one's clothing. Were I to experience clogging in the drip wastewater systems I do today, Dose-A-Tron is the product I would turn to.

Rick Goldberg